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A Social Cognitive Explanation of Internet Uses and Gratifications: Toward a New Theory of Media Attendance
Unformatted Document Text:  continually monitor perceived expectations and self beliefs might provide a more accurate picture of reciprocal causation. Habit strength, deficient self-regulation, and self-efficacy might be productively applied to the study of other media. Television addiction (Kubey & Csikszentmihalyi, 2002) has been described in the same terms of behavioral addiction that underlie the present conceptualization of deficient self-regulation, for example. A wide variety of media consumption behaviors (from reading the newspaper over breakfast to tuning in TV comedians at bedtime) would seem to be habit-prone on their face in that they recur in a consistent context, perhaps with little active re-evaluation each time the behavior is repeated. While few mass media consumption behaviors require skills as complex as those needed to surf the Web, there are perhaps parallel media self-efficacy constraints. Anyone who has ever put down a book because it was “too deep” or turned away from a television drama that was “too disturbing” might be said to have experienced a self- efficacy constraint. Self-efficacy could also be a factor in managing television viewing using advanced television systems such as personal video recorders. The present research suggests some new departures for the Uses and gratifications tradition. It appears that redefining gratifications as expected outcomes may have merit, on both a conceptual and operational level. Secondly, the process of continually recycling gratification dimensions from previous (mostly mass media oriented) research may have left out some potentially important variables, particularly regarding the status that media consumption may confer. Third, habit strength appears to be a conceptually and empirically distinct construct from gratifications. Early conceptualizations of Uses and gratifications (e.g. Palmgreen et al., 1985, p. 17) observed that distinction but it appears

Authors: Eastin, Matthew. and Larose, Robert.
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continually monitor perceived expectations and self beliefs might provide a more
accurate picture of reciprocal causation.
Habit strength, deficient self-regulation, and self-efficacy might be productively
applied to the study of other media. Television addiction (Kubey & Csikszentmihalyi,
2002) has been described in the same terms of behavioral addiction that underlie the
present conceptualization of deficient self-regulation, for example. A wide variety of
media consumption behaviors (from reading the newspaper over breakfast to tuning in
TV comedians at bedtime) would seem to be habit-prone on their face in that they recur
in a consistent context, perhaps with little active re-evaluation each time the behavior is
repeated. While few mass media consumption behaviors require skills as complex as
those needed to surf the Web, there are perhaps parallel media self-efficacy constraints.
Anyone who has ever put down a book because it was “too deep” or turned away from a
television drama that was “too disturbing” might be said to have experienced a self-
efficacy constraint. Self-efficacy could also be a factor in managing television viewing
using advanced television systems such as personal video recorders.
The present research suggests some new departures for the Uses and gratifications
tradition. It appears that redefining gratifications as expected outcomes may have merit,
on both a conceptual and operational level. Secondly, the process of continually recycling
gratification dimensions from previous (mostly mass media oriented) research may have
left out some potentially important variables, particularly regarding the status that media
consumption may confer. Third, habit strength appears to be a conceptually and
empirically distinct construct from gratifications. Early conceptualizations of Uses and
gratifications (e.g. Palmgreen et al., 1985, p. 17) observed that distinction but it appears


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